11-27-11 Sunday (Birthday Gifts)

Recently Jim and I went for a deep tissue massage.  It was a birthday gift from him.  Yesterday we went on a Charlotte Segway tour which was another gift from that same birthday.  Truth be told, we don’t exchange gifts for holidays or our birthdays but this year I think it was a good excuse to justify these Groupon purchases. 

We had a 4pm reservation with Queen City Segways.  After a short tutorial, well a very short tutorial since we’ve rode Segways in DC, we were on our way with 6 other people.  We had a great time riding them.  The tour itself wasn’t all that great.  It was difficult to hear the guide, Luke, there wasn’t that much information anyway.  I think it was more about riding the Segways, enjoying the views and the perfect weather we had.  We did get to see some areas of Charlotte that we haven’t see before.  While going through a cemetery we saw a grave for a slave.  Another tombstone’s epitaph read something about being killed by a lion.  Neat stuff.  Here’s some photos and videos of our adventure:

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11-25-11 Friday (Hiding Merchandise)

On Sunday, Jim finished up the guest rooms and our bedroom:

2011-11-20 006Above: Master bedroom

2011-11-20 001Above/Below: “Twin” Room.2011-11-20 002


2011-11-20 003Above: “Queen Room”

We also stopped into Sam’s Club to see if we should renew our membership.  They don’t carry much of what we buy at BJs so we didn’t renew.  While there, we witnessed people lined up for samples.  Yes, lined up.  Get a life people.

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I was out in the backyard and spotted a goat.  Yes, I said goat.  We saw 3 of them through the now bare trees of in the distance.  We got the binoculars and confirmed. 

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Outside of our neighbor are some private homes with large properties.  One has horses so I’m guessing this is what we’re seeing.  Funny.

If you don't remember, I work for a bank.  I'm a phone banker.  A product specialist would be the fancy title.  I open accounts and take loan applications.  On Friday I applied for the next level up, a Premier Banker.  A little more money, a prestigious title, and some more product knowledge such as IRAs.  I had to interview for it.  As of today's blog entry I made the cut.  I'll actually start that in late December.

Thanksgiving was awesome.  Jim's dad, his girlfriend Julie and Grandma came Wednesday (from FL).  On Thanksgiving we all cooked.  I did this, someone did that, it was great teamwork and we had fun.  Wine always helps too.  hic.

Actually we started with mimosas.  The champagne bottle cork was amusing:

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In the early afternoon, Jim's brother John, wife Tonia and 6 month old Colton arrived.  Oh and their 2 dogs too.  Dasher enjoyed the canine company (a little too much) and Clea just fled for her life.  7 adults, 1 newborn, 3 dogs, 1 cat... full house.

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We needed a few supplies so off to Walmart we went.  Surprisingly empty.  Cashiers waited for customer to come to them.  I felt guilty going there but when I remarked to the cashier about having to work, she was happy to do so and needed the holiday pay.  The store was setup to handle Black Friday.  Pallets of stuff were wrapped with signs forbidding sale.

I was actually scheduled to work Thanksgiving.  I swapped with Mike and took his Wednesday instead.  Jim had off and took today (Black Friday) off in addition.  Sometime during holiday relaxation Jim made a list of Black Friday deals he wanted.  We never do Black Friday.  It's crazy.  People are insane.  Boycott the businesses that make their employees work.  Say yes to family time.  Etc, etc, etc  He asked if I wanted to go and so I did.  Crazy?  Yeah very.

Some Walmart deals started at 10pm and others at midnight.  Yes, on Thanksgiving.  Poor employees who have to gobble (funny I know) down their food, nap and go into work.  It sucks and I contributed to that.  But how many employees preferred that?  Dunno.  Anyway, we arrived at 10:30, no parking anyway.  Having a Jeep with 4 wheel drive is handy.  We hopped the curb and parked in a field.  It worked.

The parking lot was nuts and the inside of the store, well that was just out of control.  There were no carts available.  We couldn't find anything we wanted on our list except for 1 desk chair (we wanted 2).


Black plastic covered pallets were all over the place.  Walmart personnel guarded the pallets until midnight.  Guards and support people were all over the place.  With 1 chair in hand we made it to the checkout.  Every register was open but naturally the line we chose seemed to have had someone who was attempting to hack the IRS' computer system through the use of a credit card terminal.  I have no idea what the issue was.  We made it out!

We went to Target.  The advantage here was the while there was a line wrapped around the outside of the building, it wasn't too long, they opened at 12, it was 11:35 so the wait wouldn't be so bad, the store was closed so the line of people was manageable.  It was an organized splendor.  Shopping carts were aligned inside the store so that we could civilly grab a cart.  The savage beast brewed from within.  On Jim's list was $5 scarves that he thought he'd pickup for his Grandmother.  It was close to the entrance and he grabbed them as though he was on some 60 second shopping spree.  Meanwhile, I spot a Playstation 3 for $200.  It's a good deal, but I already have one, but it's a good deal.  I grab it.   Jim catches up with me and questions why I took one.  Well, maybe family members back at the house want it for that price or someone else?  I dunno.  I can always return it.  It's the thrill of the hunt... I think.  Maybe the thrill of the successful hunt?  Anyway, we got way too much stuff there.  I plea insanity. 

Because Target wasn't apparently enough, off to Old Navy we went.  Jim picked out some jeans for $15 each.  The checkouts had 5 of 8 registers open.  2 lines went from the front to the back of the store.  Hell no.  Jim "hid" the stuff he picked out and planned to return on Friday to get his stuff.

Jim's family departed Friday morning.  Jim had the day off and went shopping.  I went to work.  I don't know if I could have handled more shopping so I guess it was for the best that I didn’t go.

UPDATE: Jim did get the jeans he wanted.  He had hid them behind a stack of jeans as far as he could reach.

11-19-11 Saturday (BBQ At The Peep Show)

It’s been a sad, worrisome week.  On Wednesday, Jim returned from Florida.  Damn, that was a lot of driving.  I think it was approximately 10 hours each way.  When he left, Morgan’s condition hadn’t improved.  In fact, it had gotten worse.  Update: I’m happy to report that as of today, he’s improving a little each day.  Great news indeed!

I’ve done all the shopping I needed to for Thanksgiving.  A 20 pound turkey.  The guest list isn’t 100% just yet but so far Jim’s Dad and his girlfriend, Jim’s Grandmother, and possibly Jim’s brother, wife and nephew depending on his brother’s work flow.  Either 5 or 8.  We’re prepared either way.

Jim and I were at Home Depot the other day.  Jim spotted:

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There’s no supermarket in this plaza so it amused us.  There’s a story here somewhere.  Can you imagine all the strange stuff store shopping cart guys see? 

Another strange thing we spotted at a local BBQ restaurant was this mushroom.  I haven’t seen one like this so it had my attention:

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The BBQ restaurant we went to was called Old Hickory House.  Ready for a review?  Strangely the building has no windows.  Jim asked the server who has worked there 14 years.  According to her, this restaurant has been here since 1970-something.  Previously it was Moose Lodge and before that a peep show place.  Maybe a gentleman’s club?  That would explain the lack of windows.  The server was awesome, friendly, humorous and down-to-earth.  An asset to owner.  We had BBQ pork sandwiches.  They were huge and jam packed with pork.  Unfortunately the Texas toast we ordered it on was soggy.  Maybe it needed more toasting time?  The BBQ flavor wasn’t my preferred tasty.  I thought it a little tangy for my liking but Jim enjoyed his.  Jim’s hush puppies were cold and had to be sent back.  Oddly, my French fries varied.  Some were room temperature and some were scalding hot.  The baked beans were meaty and flavorful. 

Images off the internet:



In other unimportant news, we’ve had some chilly weather.  With a low of about 27, we’ve had some frost.

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Above/Below: 2 corners of the yard.

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Jim has been decorating.  Today he arranged and hung a collage in the dining room.  He was smart about his process. 

2011-11-19 007Above: He used a large piece of cardboard to lay out his collage on.

2011-11-19 008Above: He traced out the artwork and measured the hangers on the back of each piece.

2011-11-19 009Above/Below: He hung up the template and made his nail holes.2011-11-19 010

2011-11-19 011Above: The finished product.

11-15-11 Tuesday (Insignificant Boofing)

I realize my entries are typically multiple subjects.  It’s what I do.  This particular one has a list of small insignificant things to tell you.

OK, so they finally changed the light bulb over the men’s sink at work on Monday.  Not bad, only a week later.  It was so dark in there, I washed other people’s hands by mistake.  I hope they don’t report me to HR. The new bulb seems brighter.  Well, yeah brighter than the bulb being defunct but I mean brighter than when a bulb existed.   Now instead of a flashlight we need sunglasses.  Perhaps my brightness-opinion is a little off because it was dark for so long.  By the way, I really didn’t think I’d have so much to say about a bulb at work.

While I’m on the work subject, several months ago I came across a wireless headset.  It’s the same one I see a few people at work (especially supervisors) use.  These things are expensive.  $300 new.  It was Jim’s from a previous job.  I tried to make it work but I guess I didn’t have the connections right and my clients were never able to hear me.  I tried this thing several times.  Recently I once again found it in a box and decided to try again.  A supervisor helped me with the various settings and viola it worked.  I’m on the phone all day and love the ability to roam between calls.  It’s like I’m in an off-leash park!  I can’t go very far since as soon as I get a call I need to take action on the screens.  If I had known this was so perfect for me, I may have paid $80 on eBay to get one.  Woof, woof.


We’re still talking about work right?  Can I tell you how many people don’t understand a debit card vs. a credit card?  I’ll offer a customer a credit card and they’ll say, “I already have one”.  I’ll ask who it’s through and they’ll reply, “with you.”  No you don’t.  That’s a debit card for withdrawing money from your account via an ATM or Point of Sale.  “but it says Visa”.  I have to explain further… and sometimes even further.  These are probably the descendants of the people who thought that as long as they have checks, they have money in the account.

Oh, and still work related… sorta.  The trees at work (which is a huge campus) are so colorful.  Although I don’t have a window seat inside, I do admire the fall foliage.  Stunning:

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And finally, something not work related, a weird ad that came up on Facebook:


Friend Jennifer explained “boof” as a kayaking term but I’m still baffled by the last sentence.  Must be a foreign language translation issue?  Shouldn’t the ad people at Facebook have helped them with this?  Just sayin’.

11-11-11 Friday (Evacuations)

My last entry was actually on Mike’s birthday.  That day I stopped off at the store and picked up a HUGE balloon and cupcakes to take to work.   We have to swipe our badge to get through a revolving door leading in/out of the building.  I got in with the balloon, cupcakes, lunch cooler, jacket and drink without incident.  The door has various sensors, at least one for weight and who knows what else.  I left work a little earlier than Mike so I didn’t get to witness it for myself but I heard the balloon caused him some issues. Let’s picture the situation as he described to me:

He tried to take it home.  He attempted going through the door several times only angering the revolving door gremlins and having them electronically yell various security related slurs (yes it talks).  I’m sure he was embarrassed.  I’m sure he may have even been a topic at the dinner table.  “So this guy with a huge balloon…”  During one of the many attempts he made, the balloon got caught in the door and nearly popped.  It was resilient.  The door backed off.  It knew who was boss.  Can you imagine the loud boom if it had popped?  That right there may have caused mass hysteria with an evacuation.  Headlines?  “Bank evacuates for balloon – 2 trampled”.   Surely balloons would be banned from our building.  All thanks to me.  Or thanks to Mike?  Who takes the blame?  At this point, if it had been me in this situation, I would have abandoned the damn thing and not told anyone.  Mike was dedicated to the cause.  Back to the story.  He decides to walk to the main entrance where no evil revolving doors exist.  It’s quite a hike there.  He makes it!  There’s no one around and the doors are locked.  He hikes back, takes the elevator back to the 3rd floor where he started, puts the balloon back at his desk, goes home, and is greeted by Billy who asks, “why are you so late?”  Happy birthday Mike.

2011-11-10 Mike's Balloon

Speaking of our huge facility, the light over the men’s room sink has been out for several days.  In speaking with a co-worker about the ridiculousness that can sometimes be a big corporation he suggested that with all of the managers and cleaning people in and out that you’d think someone reported it.  Perhaps that’s the problem.  Too many people have filled out form GHA-56a aka “Light Bulb Change Requisition Form”.  The light bulb change department is baffled.  How many bulbs does that bathroom have?  Maybe it was too bright to begin with?  This has gotten so big it’s made it to the board of directors and may be resolved over several meetings.  “This topic was resumed from last week's discussion, but is incomplete, pending resolution of some action items. It will be continued next week.  Let’s discuss the probable ban on balloons in the revolving door…”

Jim’s stepdad, Morgan, has been hospitalized with pneumonia and hasn’t been doing too well.  On Wednesday he was placed on a ventilator.  Jim left NC by car to be supportive to his mom in FL.  Jim made great time there and as of Thursday night, Morgan’s condition remains the same.

On a lighter side, Jim was in Walmart Thursday night and spotted a guy carrying a lemur.  He asked if he could take a photo and the guy said “sure, I get that all the time”.  Well of course you do, we love freaks.


The Fort Myers Walmart has a lemur-carrying-man, ours has a strolling Mariachi band.  What’s yours got (aside from PeopleofWalmart.com)?

How’s Clea and Dasher doing?  While washing one of the pet beds I temporarily replaced it with another.  Dasher didn’t care for it so he decided to lay on Clea.  Perhaps a snuggle?  Perhaps in protest.

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The fence is done!  We had the guy come back out to fix a few minor issues.  Many spots on the shadow box portion had nails that were too long thus creating a sharp object protruding.  Some hinge bolts went too far in, some wood didn’t meet up very well.  He cheerfully fixed it.  After all, we did hold back some of the money until he made good on it.

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The house has been coming together.  I steamed, washed, ironed and whatever else to get the guest room drapes, comforter and bed skirt looking nice and pretty.  I’ll take photos later.  I have to wait till Jim gets back to help me neatly put the bed skirt on. 

As of Friday morning, Morgan’s condition has improved a little.

11-7-11 Monday (Inconvenient Licking)

Psssst.  By the way, I've been blogging from work between calls.  Shhhhhhh.  I even read other people's blogs when time permits but with the computer restrictions, it won't let me comment on blogs that use embedded comment forms.  Oh well, I can't have everything I guess.  Anyway, sometimes I'm too busy, sometimes not.  Usually I type the text portion and then fit the fabulous photos in later at home.  Yes, I said fabulous.

On Sunday we invited Mike and Billy over to celebrate Mike's birthday.  It was the perfect excuse to get a lot more done in the house.  Jim staged the curio cabinet, and then Monday I removed everything, cleaned all the glass and put it all back together.  Jim is great at setting up the decor.  It's his specialty.  I just chime in when I don't like something but overall it's fabulous.  Yes, I said fabulous.

My specialty?  Organization via lists, drawer organizers, closets, etc.  It's my thing.

Before we started the mad rush to have things ready for entertaining, Jim and I went to Golden Corral for breakfast.  I made some observations within the first 15 minutes I was there:

  • The woman at the next table licked her fingers.  This is gross.  It's gross when cashiers do it to separate plastic bags.  It's even more gross when people do it while paying - who wants to touch your spit funk?  It's even more gross when you do that at a buffet and then handle serveware.  This is why Jim and I sanitize our hands constantly while at a buffet.  We get our plate of food, stop at a sanitizer, fill our free palm with sanitizing goo, return to the table, set the plate down, rub in sanitizer, pig out.  Despite the precautions we take, all I can say is ewwwww.
  • At the very same table, finger licking gal's companion takes out a napkin, tissue or other and blows his nose.  Go into the bathroom, blow your brains out and then wash your hands.
  • Several tables away, a woman removes her straw, makes the tip flat and picks her teeth.  THEN she tries to return it's shape and returns it to the cup and takes a drink. 
  • While straw explorer woman goes at it, her 12-14 year old dining companion keeps one leg up on a spare chair as if she’s chillaxing.  You know, constant trips to the buffet are awfully tiring.

I’m glad I was able to share that with you.  After a disturbing breakfast we went to Walmart.  Sometimes an equally disturbing place.  Once home it was time to organize, clean, hang pictures, etc.  Later, dinner with Mike & Billy.

2011-11-06 002Above: I made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, biscuits, green beans, corn.

2011-11-06 003Above: Mike is a chocolate lover, just like me.

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Ever hear the term “photo bomb”? It’s when a serious photo is taken but something funny, unexpected or the like happens in the background.  For example, see the next 2 photos of our cat Clea:

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Above/Below: Thanks Clea.

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Oh, and while I’m at it, ever see photos float around titled “There, I fixed it”?  Here’s Jim’s version of a shelf support while we wait for the drywall to get fixed.

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Remember when Jim tied a handheld mirror to the light fixture to be a wall mirror?  Refresher:


That brings me to today, Monday.  The fence guys are here for day 1 of 2 to build the fence!

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Hey future guest bedroom users, here’s the latest look thus far:

2011-11-07 014Above: Dubbed the “Twin Room” because of the daybed/trundle feature.  This room will be silver, a primary red and black.  A modern look. 

2011-11-07 015Above: We’ve retired the palm tree bedding for the “Queen Room”.  This room will be red, gold and brown.  I still need to get the bedskirt on and the rest of the bedding.  The drapes need steamed.

Now accepting reservations.  Fabulous.

11-4-11 Friday (Do-Overs)

Earlier in the week, my department decided to change our desks.  Most of us had to change cubicles.  The purpose was to make room for another department and keep the teams together.  Although a lot of us didn't like the move, it gave us time off the phones and regroups our teammates together.  It made sense.  If nothing else it will make our team inspired decorations easier to do.

A while back Jim wanted me to pick up some Halloween candy.  I picked up a bag.  Actually, it was a large assortment of Smarties and whatevers.  Jim questioned if it would be enough.  I guessed 5 Trick or Treaters.  He didn't like that so the day before Halloween he asked that I pick up more.  I did.  When I got home and asked how many trick or treaters he had, it was only 5.  We laughed.  Some day that man is going to learn that I know all.  When I lived in NY we had so many trick or treaters because it was all city blocks.  In a lot of newer areas, everything is in subdivsions or communities.  Sometimes it's not that easy to go to the other subdivisions so perhaps we only get the kids in our own neighborhood? 

The day after Halloween, we noticed another spot on the ceiling.  It's in a new location.  It wasn't very big and we questioned one another if it had been there prior.   I put in a warranty repair request in writing to Adams Homes (11-1-11 9:30am)
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Wednesday, no call or email from Adams Homes.  By Thursday morning I had to email them again:

After over 24 hours have passed, the water spot on my ceiling has doubled.  We have not received a phone call or email from Adams Homes.  My service experience thus far has been disappointing.  I want a supervisor to contact me before noon.  Once again we have ceased using the master bath.

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Soon after sending that email the plumbing company called.  Megan said she received a warranty service request.  I asked when she received it.  She said, “yesterday morning”.  The delay wasn’t Adams Homes.  I emailed Adams Homes: 

Misty thank you.  We know the drywall repair has been delayed on our part and is in no way part of my complaint.  We have delayed the drywall repair to be sure no other issues existed.
I thank you for being quick to get the work order out to Ammons but unfortunately their delays, lack of communication and lack of quality reflect on Adams Homes.  I have let Megan know ahead of time that her guys should be cutting any drywall with shop vac in hand to catch drywall dust. 
Adams Homes did respond and offered to have a cleaning service come in after them.  That made me feel a lot better about the situation.

On Friday:
Derek from Ammons Plumbing called at about 8:51 stating he'd be at the house by 9:15.  He arrived as promised.  Derek took good care in not creating drywall dust by using a razor knife to cut into the drywall.  It took a little over an hour and no leak was found until he cut the hole open a little larger.

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While moving a cold water line, water quickly dripped from the T connector which feeds water to the master bath sinks and I think he said toilet but maybe the shower.  He replaced the connector.

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On the previous water leak, the plumber caulked around the guest bath faucet face plate.  He showed me where some of the water was leaking into it and said that it should have been caulked during installation.  I challenged him saying that I was sure the manufacturer of the faucet had a gasket or flange behind it and that caulking would look ugly.  He did a nice job but the caulking did not dry clear in some spots.  On today's visit, Derek inspected the guest bath faucet flange and disagreed with the need to caulk.  He said he'd order or obtain a new flange/face plate and correct the problem.   I was unhappy with having both tub nozzles and faucets caulked during that visit knowing that is not how the manufacturer intended it's installation.

Hopefully I will not have any future plumbing leaks, but if I do, I know that Derek is the guy to fix them.  Once again I will delay the drywall repair (a total of 4 holes) until it dries out and we're sure no further leaks are found.

Back to Wednesday.  A busy day for me.  While off I did quite a bit of shopping and some returning as well.  I also decided to bake another cake.  Click here for the post about the previous cake fiasco.

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This time I used Baker’s Joy:

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It came out perfect.

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Back in June, Jim bought us deep tissue massages from Living Social.  With them expiring soon, we decided to redeem them.  It wasn’t quite what Jim and I had expected.  Being “massage-stupid”, we didn’t know it would hurt during the massage and that afterwards it wouldn’t be relaxing.  My muscles felt better in the end but not quite like a massage I’ve had before.  I did comment on that to both massage therapists who explained that what I would have enjoyed more so was a Swedish Massage.  Ohhhhhh.  No fault of theirs.  Live and learn.
The water spot doubled.